I had all three of my kids, right after another, stacked one on top of the other. It wasn’t the plan — but I’m so glad I did.
I woke up one morning around the time of my first child’s first birthday, and I had the overwhelming feeling we needed to start trying again. This caught me by surprise, to be honest. I still can’t believe how many people asked me when I would have another child after my oldest was born. Wading through the hormonal soup and trying to find my rhythm with a newborn, the only answer that made sense was: “When the first one starts school.” The truth was, I couldn’t wrap my head around taking care of two children. I didn’t think there was a way I could love another child as much as I loved him. And I had no idea if my body could handle another birth since I still couldn’t walk properly when he was six weeks old because I tore and bruised so badly.
But then I changed my mind and we were lucky and got pregnant on the first try. My concerns hadn’t disappeared entirely, but regardless, we were going for it — I’d have a newborn before my oldest was two, and we’d get through it. Then, when we got a surprise when our daughter was 7-months-old I didn’t have time to stop and think about how hard it would be until we were having a picnic one day right before my third was born, and a friend of my mom’s stopped by to say hello and remind me I have three kids, three and under. “Having three kids in three years is going to be crazy!”
She was partly right, but… there were so many more times I was so happy I had my three kids close together.
They all napped and went to bed at the same time. Yes, this took some work but once we got a routine down, I could count on a few hours of rest during the day, and bedtime was easier this way because no one felt left out or like they were being punished because their brother or sister got to stay up later.
Once they all grew out of the nap stage, it was wonderful to do things like go to the movies, park, or playground. They all still enjoyed it, and no one was bored and wanted to leave. Whatever worked for one of them worked for all of them.
They all went through the same stages together or close together. My oldest and my second child gave up their pacifiers together. Their classrooms were close to each other when they went to elementary school, which was comforting, they learned how to share friends and toys, and they all liked the same television shows simultaneously.
When they got older and hit puberty, I felt like they all went through it in a few years, and while this was intense, it’s wonderful to be on the other side of now. It also kept certain things fresh in my mind (like how much alone time they needed in their room and the fact they wanted nothing to do with me), which helped me handle it better.
Now, my kids are 19, 17, and almost 16. While the student driving years gave me more anxiety than anything ever has in my life, I am so happy I have three teenagers close in age. We love doing things together, and I am happy I get to focus entirely on them and their lives as they all experience so many of the same things.
To me, it’s the greatest reward after surviving three toddlers and pre-pubescent kids. If you are in the trenches now with kids close in age and feel like you are drowning, wait. When they are older, it’s going to get so good.
Katie Bingham-Smith is a full-time freelance writer living in Maine with her three teens and two ducks. When she’s not writing she’s probably spending too much money online and drinking Coke Zero.